Latest News » New study finds laughter may be good for brain health

Laughter has the same effect on the brain that meditation does, according to a new study.

Have you ever wanted to try meditating but never really knew how to go about it? As it turns out, you may have been doing it all your life without even realizing! A new study has looked at the role laughter plays in brain health and has connected the brain waves triggered by laughing to those produced by meditation.

HealthDay News reports that researchers evaluated 31 people who watched both calming and comical videos. The results determined that the high levels of alpha brain waves monitored in those watching the more spiritual and soothing clips — channeling the effects of meditation — were similar to those exhibited by the participants watching humorous clips. Essentially, laughing may have the same calming effect on the mind as meditation does!

"What we have found in our study is that humor associated with mirthful laughter sustains high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations," said Lee Berk, the study's lead research, in an official statement. "What this means is that humor actually engages the entire brain — it is a whole brain experience with the gamma wave band frequency and humor, similar to meditation, holds it there; we call this being 'in the zone.'"

Berk added that this would make laughter tantamount to giving the brain a workout, providing for greater clarity of thought and allowing people to better focus and reorganize their thought processes.

The research also found that different stimuli trigger different types of brain wave activity. For instance, while the spiritual and humorous videos elicited spikes in alpha brain waves, subjects exposed to more depressing images produced flatter brain waves in response.

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